Guernsey

Guernsey spectrum charge: Phone users warned of bill hike

Mobile phone users are warned of higher bills as the States of Guernsey considers a radio spectrum charge for operators.

Wireless services such as mobile phone calls and mobile internet connections are run through the spectrum.

Deputies are recommended to approve the charge of 2% of turnover per year on companies that use 4G.

However, phone providers Sure and JT are asking States members to reject the proposals at the end of March.

'No alternative'

Eddie Saints, chief executive of Sure, said if introduced the levy would result in handsets costing more and higher phone bills for islanders.

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Media captionDeputy Kevin Stewart and Jersey's Assistant Chief Minister Philip Ozouf were involved in a heated debate on BBC Radio Guernsey

"We have no alternative but to pass it on to consumers. It's a direct tax on our business.

"This is an opportunity to earn more taxable revenue."

John Stares, chief executive of JT, said: "If the deputies do vote for this then JT will need to recover this from what we charge our customers.

"This simply isn't a charge we can absorb."

Deputy Kevin Stewart, Commerce and Employment Minister, said: "It's not a tax, it's a charge. The spectrum is owned by the taxpayers of Guernsey.

"These are highly profitable companies... why on earth would we give them something to make money out of that is owned by us and not charge them for it?

"If I didn't charge for the spectrum people would say 'why are you giving it away?'."

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